Chairman of the Tobago Tourism Agency Louis Lewis says for Tobago to be successful as a tourism destination, long-standing transportation issues must be rectified.
“We are always concerned when commute between the twin island is not as efficient as it should be. It is very expensive to attract a visitor to the destination and once they have made that commitment and they arrive, the smoothness in which they can transition from one point to the next is critically important,” he said.
President of the Tobago Hotel and Tourism Agency (THTA) Chris James said hotels are facing massive cancellations as a result of the decision to pull the TT Express off the sea bridge for the Carnival weekend. “We’re very concerned about this Carnival weekend. The hotels are not booked, we’ve had massive cancellation, we had considerable cancellation last weekend now I am hearing of more and more cancellation.
“We did badly for Christmas, we did badly last year for the Summer season because of this problem and now we are going to lose Carnival, we hope that we can get back on track for Easter but that is still looking gloomy,” James said. He described 2017 as the worst year for international and domestic arrivals in living memory.
In a press release, THA Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles said he continues to be deeply saddened and disturbed by the circumstances surrounding the Port Authority and management of the sea bridge.
“There is no way I can be happy or comfortable about this new development, especially at this time. Carnival is a very important time in our nation, for both participants of the festival and non-participants who may simply choose to relax in Tobago. Both Trinidadians and Tobagonians are being affected. Our tourism is being affected and so too are many of our businesses,” the release said.
Tobago steel bands travelling to Trinidad to compete in the National Panorama finals were accommodated on the air bridge. The five small bands which included Our Boys, New East Side Dimension, Uptown Fascinators, Tobago Pan-thers and Alpha Pan Pioneers journeyed to Trinidad last Monday along with their instruments, spending the week.